Leading supply chain analysts and industry watchers agree the need for integrated Yard Management Systems (YMS) software has become acute. Forward-looking TMS solution providers are answering the call, building newly developed YMS applications into their native TMS platforms as a best practice. Early-adopting shippers are reporting promising results from their YMS implementations. But why has YMS suddenly become the “golden child” of supply chain management? Here are a couple ideas.
Supply Chain Execution (or “Process Orchestration” as it is sometimes referred to) looks at each facet of supply chain management in the context of the overall, end-to-end flow of freight; from raw materials inbound, through outbound fulfillment and delivery of customer orders. The goal is to ensure that every step in the process is planned with consideration given to its impact on the rest of the supply chain. For too long, the emphasis in this regard fell upon ERP systems and TMS systems with little to no love shown to the yard or the warehouse. Any delays or disruptions stemming from yard or warehouse activities i.e. OS&D issues, yard space constraints, trailer swings, etc., are not typically registered in TMS or ERP without manual intervention of some sort.
More importantly though, as any truck driver will tell you, getting the equipment to the destination on time is of little value if one is made to wait – sometimes for hours— to get to an open door for loading or unloading. With Hours of Service rules and a worsening driver shortage depressing the total number of hours trucks are on the road at any given point, it becomes even more critical for shippers to find time savings from elsewhere in their supply chains. Boosting throughput using a YMS means trucks are spending every precious minute with their wheels turning. As an added benefit, this also helps reduce money wasted on detention fees.
Logistics Management magazine has a feature this month highlighting what JDA and PINC are doing to connect the warehouse to TMS platforms. The insights in this article comport with the strategy behind the new YMS tools being integrated into the UltraShipTMS solution. The effects of this holistic approach to supply chain execution cannot be overstated.
A simple and effective way to think about the broad benefits delivered by YMS integrated with TMS was recently blogged about by well-known shipping industry expert, Joe Lombardo. Lombardo talks about the “Three U’s” that shippers must concentrate on given the increasingly competitive market. These are Utilization, Understanding and Use. The YMS as part of a TMS platform delivers all three ‘U’s’ in spades.
So if you’re a shipper or supply chain professional charged with bring (or updating) automation tools for better supply chain management, it would be wise not to overlook the value of including YMS in the solution you ultimately engage.